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Post Info TOPIC: 2nd trip and Aran Island/Burren questions


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2nd trip and Aran Island/Burren questions


We are planning our second trip to Ireland in May 2018.  I do so love the planning. :)

I am having problems figuring out how to work in an overnight stay on Inis Mor. We will be coming from Dingle. On our first trip we missed The Burren which we would very much like to rectify.  We've been to the Cliffs of Mohr and Galway and aren't interested in a repeat.  I have come up with three options and would like input.

Option 1
Drive from Dingle to The Burren and spend the night in Ballyvaughn.
The next day take the 10:30am ferry to Inis Mor & spend the night.
Next day, take the 8:15am or noon ferry. drive around Lough Corrib spending the night at Oughterard.
Drive to Westport via the Sky Road
(I don't like spending 3 consecutive nights in 3 different places)

Option 2
Drive from Dingle and take the 6:30pm ferry to Inis Mor and spend the night.
Take the noon ferry and drive to The Burren. then spend the night in Oughterard
Drive around Lough Corrib staying another night at Oughterard.
Drive to Westport via the Sky Road
(With this one it doesn't seem like we would be spending much time in Inis Mor)

Option 3
Drive from Dingle to Oughterard to spend the night, stopping on the way at The Burren.
Drive around Lough Corrib spending a second night at Oughterard.
Next morning take the 10:30am or 1pm ferry to Inis Mor and spend the night.
Take the 8:15am or noon ferry back and drive to Westport via the Sky Road
(This seems like the best option, but am I missing something?)

I guess I should also mention that we drove from Galway to the Connemara National Park on our first trip and did some hiking there so we wouldn't be stopping for that.

Thanks for any help.



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Option 1(2 &3) makes me slightly confused as the best ways to inis Mor are west of Galway either boat from Rosaveal or flight from Ivarin. Define driving round Lough Corrib?
Option 2 lost me!
Option 3 doesn't really help

Consider
Dingle over the Connor Pass to Listowel to Adare to Bunratty, M/N 18 via Coole Park (and or Yeats Tower, Thoor Ballylee) to Galway, Full day along main roads.
Galway, West Clare loop from Galway, goo.gl/mojmBI Possibly use Spiddal or Kinvara (maybe Orranmore, Moycullen or Oughterard) if you don't like Galway
Galway to Inis Mor for the night.
Inis Mor to Westport goo.gl/maps/kCXqtJpTA4A2 Takes the old road route over the bogs and includes the old bog rd from Cashel to Clifden over Roundstone Bog, round the Sky Rd Loop to Kylemore Abbey and then the Doolough Valley route to Westport. This is not the fastest route by any means and makes a full day.

I have about 4 or 5 different routes between Galway and Clifden then back to Galway over 2 days most of those will be different to the route you made.



-- Edited by tony2phones on Monday 29th of May 2017 04:39:57 AM

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I guess I didn't make myself clear. What I'm trying to figure out is how to approach seeing the Burren and spending a night on Inis Mor. We also wanted to drive around Lough Corrib seeing Aughnanure Castle, Cong Abbey, Ross Errilly, and Annaghdown Priory.

With time spent driving from Dingle, I was figuring we should allocate 3 days for this.

Ideally I would like to do it without spending 3 night in 3 different B&Bs which is what I originally came up with my option 1. [Drive from Dingle, visit The Burren, and spend the night in Ballyvaughn. Next day drive to Rosseveel and take the 10:30am ferry to Inis Mor & spend the night. The third day, take the 8:15am or noon ferry back, drive around Lough Corrib spending the night at Oughterard. Then leaving to continue our trip.]

So then I in an attempt to combine 2 of the nights in a single B&B I came up with option 2. [Drive from Dingle and take the 6:30pm ferry from Rosseveel to Inis Mor and spend the night. Next day leave Inis Mor on the noon ferry and drive to The Burren, afterward driving to Oughterard to spend the night. Next day drive around Lough Corrib, and staying another night at Oughterard. Then leaving to continue our trip.] The problem with this is we wouldn't be spending much time in Inis Mor and we'd be backtracking to The Burren.

Which brought me to option 3. [Drive from Dingle, visit The Burren, drive on to Oughterard where we'd spend the night. The next day we'd do the Lough Corrib circuit ending back in Oughterard where we'd spend a second night. Next morning drive to Rosseveel for the 10:30am or 1pm ferry to Inis Mor and spend the night. Next day take the 8:15am or noon ferry back and continue on with our trip.] This had the advantage of combining our a 2 night stay in one spot, giving us a decent amount of time on Inis Mor, and not doing any backtracking.

Hopefully I was clearer this time. And I do appreciate your help.


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What about 2 nights in Galway and one on Inishmore? But given all you want, something will get short shrift.

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Option 3 is about what I had worked on in my suggestion. The West of Clare for the Burren and Cliffs from the Water or other options is a full days loop from Galway. Personally I think Dingle to Oughterard would be too much to include the Burren and west Clare. Remember that the Cliffs and Burren GeoPark alone is twice the area of the Dingle peninsula. I suppose it depends if you believe the Burren is just the moonscape of travel brochure fame. That being the case then simply driving the R477 from Doolin to Ballyvaughan between the sea and the moonscape and a quick nip up the R480 to the Poulnabrone dolmen should tick the box's.

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Tony, on an earlier trip we had driven from Dingle to the Cliffs of Mohr, stopping on the way for a leisurely meal. Spent several hours at the Cliffs and arrived in Galway by five. So it seemed to me that we would be doing very much the same thing substituting The Burren for the Cliffs. With the longer daylight we would have on this trip and packing a lunch, we figured we'd have five or six hours or so for hiking around The Burren. It does seem a fascinating place. Maybe we need to take your advice, rethink things and give The Burren an additional day.

Thanks for the input.

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Michelle, thanks for the thoughts about Galway.  For whatever reason we weren't wild about Galway.  I suppose we prefer the smaller towns.  A bigger surprise to us was that The Cliffs of Mohr didn't knock our socks off. It was lovely, but compared to other places we experienced on our first trip it was toward the bottom of things.  Maybe we were expecting too much, maybe it was the commercialization.



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I understand about Galway. Many people prefer smaller towns, however it does make a good base for what you want to do. If you are taking a ferry to the Aran Islands there is a bus that will take you from Galway to the ferry and back again. You might consider Barna or Spiddal instead of Galway. Much smaller yet still located in a good area from which to do your day trips.

Have you thought of perhaps spending a night in Ballyvaughan (for the Burren) and two in Spiddal/Barna - doing the Aran Islands as a day trip instead?

Unfortunately the COM are commercialized. They had more of a WOW factor decades ago when it was just the cliffs, ocean and birds. But there are plenty of other cliffs in Ireland that are not such tourist attractions.

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Galway is a great base for whats around but can be overwhelming, therefore places like Spiddal, Moycullen and Oughterard to the west or Oranmore and Kinvara to the east also work for respective areas. Unfortunately Ballyvaughan is becoming another Doolin with far and away more visitors than locals in the summer.

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I think some of my planning problems stems from the fact that we'd like to spend time in Kenmare. We fell in love with that area on our first trip and would like to go back.  On the other hand we'd like to spend the bulk of our three weeks in the northwest - Mayo, Sligo , and Donegal. So much as we'd hate to, we might have to skip Kenmare.

Michelle, you suggested doing the Aran Islands as a day trip.  I have heard several people say that it is magical at night after the day tourists have left. What are your thoughts? Would a day trip do it justice?

Our trip is nearly a year away so we've got time to figure this all out. Thanks for your thoughts.



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There are a couple of points.

If you head for the same location every time you don't find if somewhere else is a good or better. One reason I don't see Dingle the way that many people do is that I remember what the town used to be like which was great and I have been fortunate enough to have seen Most but certainly not all the rest of the island over the past 50+ yrs so know there are equal or better places to spend the night.

If you want to see and experience the area above the Shannon estuary look at staying in locals areas, a ten minute chat with a local local can reveal all sorts of places that don't make the guide books. Oughterard is one such place for the eastern edge of Connemara Clifden always gets my vote as the best base for western Connemara and May could tie in with the local fledh or mussel festival, May is also Burren in Bloom time so a great time to visit that area.

There are 3 Aran Isles so spending the night on one could be an experience,

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I suggested doing the Aran Islands as a day trip because you wanted a two-night stay in that area and doing so would allow for that. But if you have more time then definitely spend the night on an island. From other things you have mentioned, I think you will prefer it when the day-trippers depart. Or if you still can only devote three nights in the area you might have to bite the bullet and spend those nights in different places. Another logistical problem to think through.

I love Kenmare too but given that most of what you want to see is in the west and NW perhaps you should spread your wings, branch out and save Kenmare for another trip. You have time for planning and deciding exactly what you want to do.

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Tony and Michelle, thanks so much for your insight. We are going to follow your advice. Sad not to see Kenmare again but I think we'll be able to live through it. :)  I believe our fondness for Kenmare stems from the fact that shortly before our trip to Ireland we had started thinking about where we might want to retire.  After seeing all the lovely little towns in Ireland our perspective on where and how we wanted to spend our lives changed a bit.  This former New York City gal is now almost three years living in the mountains of western North Carolina and feeling like she is in hog heaven.

I think my new thought is to plan my trip backwards from County Donegal and see how far south we think we can comfortably come in a three week period.

Which leads me to a new question. We're thinking of flying in and out of Shannon. If we end up in northern Donegal what's a good way to get back to the airport? Do we want to make a long drive and spend the night near the airport? Or is that too long a drive?  Should we break it up into two or several days and see some sights on the way?

Again, thanks for all your help.

Michelle, did I see that the new edition of your book is out?



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I think much of our confusion is based on a lack of information concerning the entire trip's plan -- what other locations are in the mix?

Since you are now talking about starting in Donegal and working your way South  -- and, you've expressed interest in the Arans and the Burren -- I suggest ending your stay in either Ennis or Bunratty on your last night.  Preceding that, tour down through the Burren from a stay near the Ferry or Airport (two nights -- plus one, if you over-night on one of the islands.  Maybe Carraroe, Barna or Spiddal.  We easily did the 'Loop' up to Cong and back, through Tuam this past November, from our base in Moycullen.

The day preceding, tour your way to your chosen destination from either Clifden / Roundstone, or Westport / Castlebar .

Then, continue working back, from there, based on your interests.

 



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Way back pre 2010 I planned out this route for someone drive.google.com/open Too long ago for me to remember who for or the reasoning but I kept it for some reason and it looks fair enough although 7 more years knowledge and planning might have me route things differently. Basically a couple of days heading up to Portrush for the Antrim coast before Donegal. Down along what was to become the Wild Atlantic Way and having Dingle and Killarney below the Shannon crossing.
My guess is that this was a 10 day or 2 week plan, with 3 weeks you could make more of it and scrubbing points south of Shannon you could have a week north of Sligo, a week between Sligo and Galway and 5 days for Clare assuming you use 2 days to get from SNN to Portrush?

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Thank you, Tony. This looks like it would be a good start on my planning.  I will try to get my thoughts a little more hammered out and will probably come back and bother you all at a later date.



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Might be some points within this answer i gave on TA's (less friendly) forum www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowTopic-g186591-i88-k10538792-Shannon_to_Clifden-Ireland.html

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